Fatima 100

Fatima 100
Easter Season: Christ has Risen! Alleluia Alleluia! Our Lady of Fatima 100th Anniversary: Saints Jacinta & Francisco, pray for us!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Be Humble

Today's readings remind us about humility and how important it is.

In the first reading, we are told to conduct our affairs with humility.  If we do this, we will be loved more and will be greater.  Humility brings about greatness. Those who are humble will find favor with God (James 4:10). Moreover, we must not seek to do the impossible. This is a sign of vanity. If we think we can go beyond our limits, then this is an affront to humility. Each of us has limits and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with having limits.  Limitations remind us of the fact that we are mortal, not gods.  It reminds us to be humble.  Those of us who are humble will find God as their home, as the responsorial Psalm tells us.  We must rejoice and exult before God.  We must sing to God and praise His name.  God will give a home to us when we are forsaken. God does not abandon anyone.  He is always there to provide for us (Philippians 4:19).

However, we must be humble.  God's Good News is not something that we should fear, as we are reminded of in the second reading.  We have not approached something which is a blazing fire with gloomy darkness or a storm with a trumpet blast.  Rather, we have approached Mount Zion with countless angels having a feast before the throne of God who is judge, as the second reading tells us.  We must be humble in order to truly partake in this feast. We are already participating in it now in the Mass.  Humility is important.  This is why at Mass we confess our sins. We remind ourselves that we are sinners; not because we must feel guilty or shame but because we must be humble and ask God for mercy and forgiveness.  God is a God of mercy and love.

We must be humble in order to be closer to God.  The word humility or being humble comes from the word "humus" which means dirt, lower ground or soil (http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=humble&allowed_in_frame=0). This should remind us of Ash Wednesday when we receive the ashes and are reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19).  Man is nothing but dust, the breath of God; a mere thought (Psalm 8:4-8).  Humility is the key to the many graces God gives. St. Josemaría Escrivá stated, "Humility is so necessary for salvation that Jesus takes every opportunity to stress its importance. Here he uses the attitudes of people at a banquet to remind us again that it is God who assigns the places at the heavenly banquet. Together with humility, the realization of the greatness of man's dignity—and of the overwhelming fact that, by grace, we are made children of God—forms a single attitude. It is not our own efforts that save us and give us life; it is the grace of God. This is a truth which must never be forgotten." (Christ Is Passing By, 133)

Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us of the importance of being last or being humble (Matthew 20:16). While dining with a big shot Pharisee, He shares a parable about someone who was invited to a wedding banquet. Jesus advises that one should not sit in the place of honor if invited to a banquet.  Instead, he or she should sit in the lowest place so that the host can upgrade his or her seat, so to speak.  This would spare the person invited from total embarrassment.  We must be humble. This cannot be stressed enough. Keeping in mind the etymology of the word humble/humility, we should remind ourselves that seeds grow from the bottom up, not the other way around. The seeds planted in us must be nourished with humility so they can grow into a strong tree that can face any storm the environment around it throws at it (Matthew 13).  At our parishes, we sometimes see some fight over positions of power, this is not Christianity. The Catholic Church is not a place to create a success ladder in order to climb it.  Christ will knock that ladder down causing one to fall on his or her face, metaphorically speaking (Proverbs 16:18).  Rather, we should accept the role and power God gives us in the parish. The lector is not more important than the usher.

Similarly, the extraordinary minister is not more important than the altar server.  All are servants of God.  Humility is something I always wrestle with. Coming from an atheist and academic background, I was taught to succeed, step on others to do so and be the best. This brainwashing of the world was softened at baptism and the other Sacraments are the bleach that is continuing to remove the residue left behind.  This is why I use a pen name to write. I do not want to become some Catholic celebrity, God forbid!  Instead, I want to be the hidden person preaching God's word and not receive credit for it.   I pray for humility every day and you should as well.  Remember, thinking we are humble can be a sign of pride. That judgment should be left to God and our humility should be demonstrated, not contemplated upon.  Being humble means to help others, especially those who are in most need.  Christ reminds us that we should not invite our friends or relatives to a lunch of dinner.  What does He mean by this?  It is simple.

Many times people think that by helping relatives they are doing work like Mother Teresa did. This is not so. While we should help our friends and relatives, when we help strangers, the act has much worth because we did so not knowing who the person we have helped were.  Many people ask me, "When homeless people come to me asking for money, should I give it to them?  What if they use it on drugs?"  My reply is to give it to them anyway if you can (Luke 6:30).  If the homeless person uses it on something inappropriate, that is not your fault.  He or she will answer to God for that.  God will judge you for giving with total sincerity and love.  This is what matters at the end, not if the money was used to buy food or not.  As Christ said, if we help those who cannot repay us, God will cover the tab, so to speak.  Trust me, God is a good payee!  He does not default on His payments!  In light of Christ's command to help others.

I ask you to please help me continue this work by donating what you can.  Satan has been attacking me lately. Last week, I posted a video on YouTube of me praying Lauds or morning prayer from the Liturgy of Hours and that very day, Google suspended my profile without reason. A holy bishop I worked for who is with the Lord now told me that when bad things happen it means you are doing good and Satan is livid.  I ask for prayers from all and for support.  May Christ be praised always!    


Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082816.cfm

Please donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus or the paypal button on this page.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: Help For Suffering Humanity: Mary Help of Christians



I have just finished reading my review copy of Help for Suffering Humanity: Mary, Help of Christians authored by Dr. Brian Kiczek. The book is just 83 pages long and not over whelming. Once you start reading, you cannot stop.  I finished it in about a half an hour. In the book, Dr. Kiczek advocates for increased devotion to our Lady as the "Help of Christians." He begins introducing the importance of Mary in the early Church citing the prayer Sub tuum praesidium and private revelation which he clearly states are not to be taken as historical. 

Nevertheless, these private revelations build up the premise of the book showing how Mary is indeed the help of Christians.  Kiczek also relies on Sacred Scripture to further show how Mary has been the help of Christians since the beginning of Christianity. Moreover, he shifts to sharing the stories and legends surrounding Saint John Bosco's devotion to Mary, Help of Christians. We see how Mary has helped those who asked for help after Saint John Bosco recommended her intercession to them. The stories are inspiring and will help devotees of Our Lady appreciate more the power of her intercession before her Son, Jesus. Dr. Kiczek cites from several sources supporting the information he presents in the book.  As a book worm and nerd, I truly appreciate this.   

In the remaining chapters, he presents that humility is important in order for prayer to really take hold. He uses extracts from several authors, including saints to make the case for humility. Next, he offers prayers that can be said for an increase of humility, Mary's intercession, followed by personal testimonies of how Mary has interceded on behalf of his wife and others during their time of need. Dr. Kiczek closes with a reminder of how important frequent Confession and Communion is in the life of Catholics. He shares the famous dream of Don Bosco where the pope steers the flagship between the two pillars at sea, one with Our Lady and the other with the Holy Eucharist. As he steers the great ship, other smaller ships approach attacking with false ideas represented as books or pamphlets. These represent the world and its heresies.

I recommend this book to all Catholics, especially those who are truly devoted to the Blessed Mother. This book will not be palatable to Protestants or Atheists, but will increase appreciation for Our Lady among Catholics. The book had a few typos which is nothing serious. It has many references which readers can look up to confirm the claims Dr. Kiczek makes and do more research. The book is meant to be what I call a "devotion supplement," or a book that aids with devotions a Catholic may already have. While reading the book, one will cherish Our Lady more and her role in Christianity. She is not just the mother of Christ or a woman in the Gospel who is mentioned briefly and then disappears. Mary is much more than this. She is a great intercessor second only to Christ her son who is the sole mediator. 

Help for Suffering Humanity: Mary, Help of Christians is a book that should be on every Catholic's bookshelf. In this time of ideological disaster, we need to be reminded more and more of Mary as our help who points to Christ.  As former atheists, Dr. Kizcek and I can relate to how important Mary is in the conversion process.  Mary is indeed our help and Dr. Kiczek hits a home run showing this in his book.          


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Google Censoring Religious Speech

Dear friends, I am once again being targeted for my religious speech, first, it was Twitter in 2013, then Facebook in 2015 and now Google Plus.

On Sunday night, as I was approving some comments that fell into the spam catch in one of my Google Plus communities and was also adding a "nickname," I then moved on to read some comments and replied to one.  When I tried to reply to a Protestant pastor, I got the message that my post cannot be posted.  I found that odd.  I figured it was the G+ app that was buggy.  When I logged on the PC, I got the message that my account was locked.  I was confused.  So I went to the email associated with the account and saw that google sent me an email claiming that I was posting commercial content which is not true.






I replied to them stating that trolls pretending to be atheists had vowed to falsely report me and that I did nothing wrong  In the reply, I included screenshots as proof which is right above.  Later on, I got an email stating that there was a problem with the name I provided.  The email asked me to either update my name or provide information on it.  I replied with information on my pen name "Sacerdotus" and explained why I use it.  Expecting all to be resolved, I checked again and no reply.  I emailed a few more times, a nothing.




Next, I decided to file an appeal using the link Google provides and received an email stating that I was in violation of their policies and had to remove "offending content."



As you can see in the video below, my content is religious with a few reshares from Science organizations.  In fact, my last "offending content" posted was me praying the Liturgy of the Hours and my reflection for the readings on the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Clearly, Google has a problem with religious speech.

I contacted the Catholic Lawyer's Guild but am hoping a lawyer who reads this post can contact me and help me pro bono.  I think Google needs to be sued for discrimination against Catholics/Religious accounts.  Also, it is not fair that they have an issue with my pen name "Sacerdotus," but do not take action against troll accounts using names such as, "Bacon Pope," or "Ellif D. Wulfe" which are not real names.

Moreover, Google has ignored my complaints about abusive trolls who impersonate me, harass me on a daily basis and threaten me.  It looks as if Google lacks a moral compass and see this as acceptable while classifying prayer and religious reflections on Mass readings as "offending content" triggering suspension  Now, my account says that it is suspended.  Here is the video I captured using Windows' 10 screen recording tool for Xbox.







As you can see, I show my profile and the content I post  It is religious in nature with a few reshares of science related articles.  I then show my activity log on Google Plus. As you can see there, my posts are not abusive nor offensive.  They are religious in nature.  Lastly, I show the emails I received and what I sent to them.   Watch the video and see for yourself that I am not making this up, nor exaggerating.  I am hoping people of all faiths will storm Google with protest just like conservatives did for @Nero (Milo). One of my Twitter friends is also getting Beitbart to cover this situation.  It is an affront to religious freedom and the Constitution.

Please contact Google to protest:

1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy,
Mountain View, CA 94043


Here are tweets showing how I have tried to reach out for help from Google employees and Google ignored.

























UPDATE:  This is the message that comes out now.  They claim my name violates their policy, yet they keep "Annoying Orange," "American Scientist," etc up.  Clearly, they are discriminating.  Why does "Sacerdotus" violate their name policy and not the aforementioned or the many troll accounts out there using fake names?





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Boston Bishops

Please spread the word.  

We have two new bishops in the archdiocese of Boston, which is headed by Cardinal Sean O'Malley. In June, our Holy Father, Pope Francis named Reverend Mark O'Connell, JCD and Reverend Robert P. Reed as auxiliary bishops.  

Their ordination to the episcopacy will be on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 1:30 PM ET at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Massachussetts. 

Please come out and support our new bishops at the cathedral or by watching on television or livestream via CatholicTV.  



Here is more information:

  


CatholicTV to Broadcast LIVE Ordination Mass for New Bishops, Mark O’Connell and Robert P. Reed 
WATERTOWN, MASS. (August 16, 2016) – On August 24 beginning at 1:30pm ET, the CatholicTV Network will provide live coverage of the Episcopal Ordination Mass for Bishops-elect Mark O’Connell, JCD and Robert P. Reed from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. 
Bishops-elect O’Connell and Reed were named Auxiliary Bishops of Boston by Pope Francis in June. They join four other Auxiliary Bishops in assisting Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley. Currently, Bishop-elect O’Connell serves as Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese of Boston and is on the faculty at Saint John Seminary and Pope St. John XXIII Seminary. Bishop-elect Reed serves as the CEO of iCatholic Media, Inc., President of the CatholicTV Network, and the Archdiocese of Boston’s Cabinet Secretary for Catholic Media. 
Cardinal Seán O’Malley will be the principal consecrator for the Mass, with the assistance of two bishops who will serve as co-consecrators. Several clergy will also be present for the Mass. The Ordination will be held on the feast day of Saint Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles. The bishops-elect eagerly anticipate their new role as servants in the Church. To reflect their ministries, Bishop-elect O’Connell has chosen the motto, “Invenimus Messiam,” or “We have found the Messiah,” and Bishop-elect Reed has chosen “Iesus sola nobis spes,” or “Jesus is our only hope.” As the archdiocese prepares for the Ordination, Cardinal O’Malley asks the Catholics of Boston to “join in prayer for their ministry, that the Lord will give them strength and wisdom to be wise and holy shepherds of Christ’s Church.” 
The liturgical procession will begin at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross at 1:30pm. The Mass of Ordination will begin at 2:00pm. Attendance at the Mass is by invitation only, but it will be broadcast live on CatholicTV beginning at 1:30pm and will be rebroadcast at 8pm. Introductory commentary will be provided by Rocco Palmo and Jay Fadden, and Ordination commentary will be provided by Father Tom Macdonald. Coverage will be available on CatholicTV’s cable channels, on CatholicTVLIVE.com, and on CatholicTV’s Apple TV, Roku, and mobile applications. The Mass will also be available for on-demand viewing. Additional information about the Ordination is available at Ordination2016.com
About the CatholicTV Network: The CatholicTV Network is a national cable television network also streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at CatholicTVLIVE.com. The CatholicTV Network represents a cable TV station available in more than 14 million homes, an interactive website with television-like live streaming and video-on-demand, mobile apps, and a monthly printed and digital magazine.




Monday, August 22, 2016

Mark Shea Fired from National Catholic Register

News is traveling around the Catholic blogosphere that apologist Mark Shea has been fired from the EWTN owned National Catholic Register.  Apparently, the NCR has had enough of Shea's commentaries which often attack traditionalists and right-wingers both within and without the Catholic Church.

Shea has been especially critical of pro-life advocates who defend the right to life for the unborn while promoting right to bear arms, just war theory, the death penalty and ignoring other social issues which are part of the "seamless garment.  He and pro-life advocate John Zmirak have been in a sort of online blog feud.

Shea is a convert from Agnosticism and the Evangelical denomination.  He has been featured on EWTN many times and has authored books on apologetics.  So far his site and Patheos blog have not mentioned his release and the NCR site still pulls up his articles in the search engine. Some blogs are stating that Shea is blaming his firing on NCR's need to keep Trump supporters and anti-Pope Francis enthusiasts donating to their company.

I am still investigating the details of this news and will update this post when necessary.  In the meantime, please pray for all parties involved.  I have seen some "Catholic" blogs rejoicing at the firing of Mr. Shea.  This is unfortunate.  We should always resort to charity and the "let's agree to disagree" cliche as Catholic Christians.


Search produces articles http://www.ncregister.com/search/results2/




Official statement from NCR via Fr. West https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10153985758031939&id=576926938







Sunday, August 21, 2016

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: Narrow is the Gate

Today's readings remind us that not all will be saved. God knows us and we can be very hypocritical and delusional.

In the first reading, we are reminded that God knows our works and thoughts (Psalm 19, Romans 8:27-27). God gathers all nations of every language and each will see His glory (Revelation 7:9).  God's Word will go throughout the world, even to places that have not heard of His fame or glory (Isaiah 55:11). This is fulfilled in Christ Jesus when He founded the Catholic Church.  The word "Catholic" means universal.  This Church is not a Church just for Jews, Caucasians, Africans or Asians (Galatians 3:28).  It is a Church for all peoples.  This Church will be the beacon for salvation in Jesus.  She leads us to the narrow gate which we will read in the Gospel (John 14:6).  In the responsorial Psalm, we have two options which reflect the universality of the Gospel's message:

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Praise the Lord all you nations; glorify Him, all you peoples!

God is the God of all peoples (Jeremiah 32:27). This is well reflected in our Holy Catholic Church. Just take a gander in your parish before Mass or during the Sign of Peace.  You will see faces of every race and ethnicity; of both genders and all ages.  These are the people of God from all nations who praise Him.  The Good News is reaching the world.  There is much work to be done, though. We must spread the Good News to all in every nation and now online as well.  This is why "Sacerdotus" exists online.  The Good News is exactly what it says, "Good News."  It is a message of love and mercy, not condemnation or chastisement (Matthew 25:31-46).  However, this does not mean that we should all sit and sing "Kumbaya" as if nothing wrong is going on in ourselves or the world.  We must not disdain the discipline of the Lord, as the second reading tells us.  While God is merciful and loving, this does not mean He will excuse our sins.

We must examine our conscience always and change our lives to better match the image of God we are made in (Genesis 1:27).  God allows things to happen in our lives as trials, to discipline us and form us into His image (Romans 5:4, James 1:3).  We must not lose heart.  Unfortunately, many people at times lose heart when something bad happens. They feel God has abandoned them or that God may not even exist. How many times do we see Atheists online post memes of starving African children or some other tragedy and blame God or declare "God does not exist" because these atrocities exist.  This is because they do not understand the spiritual life. They lose heart when tragedy takes place. Remember, God is the author of life.  God is the creator. While tragedies to us seem permanent because we are finite creatures stuck in space and time, this does not mean God has these limitations. God can easily restore everything, He is God. One may ask: Well, why doesn't he? The answer is simply: God respects our free will.  How will we learn if He does everything for us? How will a child learn to eat or tie his/her shoes on his/her own if we do it for him/her?  God gives us space so we can learn, but does not wander away from us.  God treats us as sons, as the second reading tells us.  Like a Father, He disciplines us but at a cosmic level.  Sometimes these cosmic "time outs" can feel horrible, but in the end, they bring joy once we open ourselves to understanding (Ephesians 1:17).

Finally, in the Gospel, someone questions Jesus about salvation: "Lord, will only a few people be saved?"  Jesus does not answer the man because the question is irrelevant.  Who cares how many will be saved?  The bottom line is that you work to be saved and focus on that (Philippians 2:12).  This is why Jesus says that the gate is narrow and that it will be difficult to enter it.  Then He says that the master of the house will lock the door.  There will be those outside asking, "Lord, open the door for us." The master will respond, "I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me, all you evildoers!"  He will say this despite the people telling him, "We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets."  These words should speak to us clearly. We eat and drink with Christ in the Liturgy of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).  We listen to Him speak in the Liturgy of the Word.  Let us not be like those who ignore Him or just live out the faith as a mere obligation or cultural manifestation that we inherited from our parents. Let us not be like those concerned over whether the priest says the Mass in Latin or with certain vestments.  Let us not be those who frequent the Sacraments, but refuses to forgive or help our neighbor. God will tell us, "I never knew you." Those who try to mock God with this Pharisaic faith will be wailing and grinding their teeth in hell. We must spread the Good News and not keep it to ourselves.  We must not be ashamed of our faith (Romans 1:16).  Let us focus on Christ and ask Him to transform us so that we can pass through the narrow gate when the time comes.  May Jesus Christ be praised!


Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082116.cfm

Please be generous and help me reach my goal so that I can continue and expand this evangelization work.  Donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus




Sunday, August 14, 2016

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Jesus, Fire & Division

Today's readings remind us of conflicts that may arise due to our faith in Christ.

In the first reading, we read of the princes plotting against Jeremiah.  They asked the king to put him to death because Jeremiah was "demoralizing" the soldiers and causing divisions, according to them.  King Zedekiah gave the okay to them to do as they wished.  They threw Jeremiah into the cistern of Prince Malchiah.  He was placed in a pit and left to sink in mud. Ebed-melech came and told the king that the princes were mistaken and convinced the king to have Jeremiah released.  This story is a foreshadowing of what Christ would go through.  The Pharisees would call for His execution by fabricating lies against Him (Mark 3:6).  Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God is put to death (1 Peter 1:20).  We too who profess faith in Christ Jesus will be slandered and will go through much hardship (Luke 12:11 ).  This is all part of the package, so to speak, of following Christ.  We must carry the cross (Matthew 16:24).  However, God will be there for us comforting us and aiding us as we read in today's Psalm.  "Lord, come to my aide!"  These are the words we should say when we face hardships.

The typical response by humans is to defend oneself or take revenge. However, for a Catholic, we bear the suffering for the sake of the kingdom (1 Peter 2:19-20).  We must wait for the Lord.  He will rescue us.  He will draw us out of the pit of destruction.  God does not abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  We must persevere. Those we may feel alone at times, we are not.  There are a cloud of witnesses there cheering for us and praying for us (Revelation 5:8).  We are in the real Olympics competing against the powers of this world (Ephesians 6:12).  Our enemy is not our neighbor (Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Gays, Atheists, etc), but Satan and his legion of fallen angels.  The second reading reminds us of this cloud of witnesses cheering for us as we run in the face keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus who is the "gold medal," so to speak.  Jesus endured the cross for us.  We too must endure it for Him.  Sin is a struggle. We must not give up.  Sin is like a drug addiction. We will go through withdrawal symptoms and desire to get back on the drug.  However, if we fix our eyes on Christ and receive Him in the Sacraments, we will do fine.

Finally in the Gospel, Jesus tells of the fire He wants to set on earth.  This fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit which Our Lady and the Apostles received on Pentecost, the birthday of the Catholic Church (Acts 2).  Fire destroys things, but in nature, it renews things.  Fires in forests that happen naturally do so because it is nature's way of recycling itself (http://blog.suny.edu/2013/08/ask-an-expert-why-are-wildfires-good/). Trees burn and fall to the grown. The remains nourish the soil which beings another cycle of life with new and bigger trees.  Jesus like an arsonist wants to burn the evil in our lives.  From these ashes will rise new holy people guided by the Holy Spirit. However, this will not be and easy thing for all to take in. While Jesus is the prince of peace, He is also a cause for division. One may wonder why, which is a valid inquiry. Jesus causes division because the world conflicts with Him.

The world does not want God (John 15:18). It fights God.  When some in the world follow God, the world will counter causing division. We see this in families. I know of families who protest a son entering seminary or a daughter entering the convent. Some in my own family protested my conversion to Catholicism from Atheism.  I am sure you reading this have your own stories of how you faced opposition due to your faith.  Even in the Church we see divisions, not only with Protestantism, but among Catholics who disagree with each other and even the pope.  Some may call themselves more Catholic or traditional than others.  This is all due to pride and the struggle within the human whether or not to follow Christ or the world and human desires of power, greed and control.  Let us fix our eyes on Christ and let His fire burn the junk in us that keeps us far from Him.  May Jesus Christ be praised.




Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081416.cfm

Pleases donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus



 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Faith of Our Fathers

Today's readings deal with faith and following it.

In the first reading, we read about the preparation "our fathers," - or those in the past - received. God revealed to them His salvific plan and led them into the roles they would take which would be recorded in Sacred Scripture.  The stories that we read about in the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament are not coincidences.  God in His divine providence has been guiding the process of salvation (Psalm 25:5, Jeremiah 30:11). This "faith of our fathers' is what we have inherited and must continue to pass on until the day when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5).  The salvific plan of God did not die out with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses or even with Jesus.  It is still ongoing (Mark 16:15).  This is why we have the Catholic Church which Christ founded upon Peter, the rock (Matthew 16:18).  The Church is like a ship gathering souls to bring them to safe haven. On the news, we hear of refugees escaping Syria and other nations via boats.  Think of it in this light. The Church is gathering up souls to bring them to God.  This is why we say in today's responsorial Psalm, "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own."  We must exult and praise God who is our Father.  We are His nation, His people (1 Peter 2:9).  God is with those who fear Him. The term 'fear' here does not mean fear as in being scared of God.  Fear in the biblical sense is reverence. We must have great respect for God. God is with us.  He is indeed our help and shield (Psalm 91).  If you do not believe this, just take a look at the Church's history.  The Catholic Church has faced all kinds of scandals and attacks from both within and without, yet she still thrives. This is because God protects her.  The faith will not die out.

As we read in the second reading, the faith is something that gives hope.  Our faith is a journey towards a hope of things not seen. We do not have evidence as in the case with DNA or fossil records, but our minds and hearts tell us that our faith is not in vain. Even in science, scientists believe ideas without having evidence.  They rely on the law of parsimony which allows them to accept the best conclusion possible. We may not see a God hovering up over the earth on a throne or angels flying about, but we know based on our faith and what I call the "hints in nature" that there is a God (Romans 1:20).  My book, "Atheism Is Stupid" goes more into detail in this and I advise you to get a copy so that you can see why faith is important and why nothing in science disproves God.  Faith to us is a deep trust in God.  It is a relationship. Atheists love to mock theists regarding the idea of faith. They think of it as a religious person blindly following ideas without proof.  This is not what faith is.  Faith is not like, "hey I am going to just believe this" and not ask questions.  Instead, faith drives us to ask questions and seek more knowledge of God and the teachings of the Church.  This faith draws us to think and do things that the world does not understand because it dwells on what is immediately tangible by the senses (1 Corinthians 2:14).  Our faith must be a living organ in our lives, so to speak.  It must not be something we do on Sundays or holy days of obligation.  Faith is not something that must be done "in private." If we use our faith as a part-time thing, we run the risk of being that faulty servant which Jesus speaks to us about in the Gospel.

In the Gospel,  Jesus tells the disciples that they must not be afraid and must make radical changes in their lives.  This change includes and is not limited to, helping others, detachment from material goods, and a desire to be able to enjoy the treasures of heaven.  We must not be like the servant who was left in charge only to abuse others and lead by bad example.  Our faith must be authentic and not abused (Matthew 6:5).  Christ can come at any moment like a theif in the night(1 Thessalonians 5:2).  This is why we must be on alert doing the right thing by living out our faith with sincerity and zeal.  Our salvation truly depends on this commitment.  We must not be like the one who grabs the plow only to look back (Luke 9:62).  If we decided to follow Jesus, we must continue and not look back.  Each one of us plays an important role in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-26 ).  We cannot leave the work of faith to the clergy and sit back. Rather, we must utilize our roles in life to increase the faith in ourselves and in others.  If we do this, then we will be the good servant that takes care of the master's house.  Let us continue to grow in faith and promote it.  We must not hide this light that was given to us. Like in the Olympics, we must hold the torch of faith up high so the world can see. We must fight the good fight and finish the race so we can receive the crown that never fades (1 Timothy 6:12, 1 Corinthians 9:25).  May Jesus Christ be praised!


Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/080716.cfm

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